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Archive for the ‘Child care’ Category

 

Yesterday, Governor Charlie Baker released his state budget proposal for fiscal year 2021 (FY’21).

His proposal increases investments in early education and care, which would make FY’21 the eighth consecutive year of increased investments.

Specifically, the governor’s proposal increases spending in areas including child care access (line items 3000-3060 and 3000-4060); rate increases for early educator salaries (3000-1042); and the new Sliding Fee Scale Reserve to help reduce parent fees for subsidized child care (3000-1043).

MassLive.com reports that the budget includes “a proposed $92.3 million funding boost for early childcare providers and childcare voucher programs.

“Nearly half of the funding increase would go toward childcare vouchers set aside for the Department of Children and Families and subsidized vouchers for families receiving assistance from the Department of Transitional Assistance, according to the Department of Early Education and Care.”

Recent state budget increases are being supported in part by historic federal budget increases for the Child Care and Development Block Grant.

Visit our website for a full listing of early education and care line items in the state budget. And visit Mass.gov for more details on the governor’s proposal.

And please join Strategies for Children for an Advocacy 101 webinar on Wednesday, January 29, 2020, where we will discuss Governor Baker’s budget proposal and prepare for Advocacy Day at the State House on Thursday, March 5, 2020. Click here to register for Advocacy 101. 

For more information contact Titus DosRemedios at tdosremedios@strategiesforchildren.org or (617) 330-7387.

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“I am a product of early education and care; and my daughter is a product of it as well,” Nikki Burnett told us recently. Burnett’s daughter is currently a student at Howard University.

As for Burnett herself she has come full circle. Born and raised in Massachusetts, in Springfield’s Mason Square neighborhood, Burnett worked for over a decade as a senior administrator at the American Heart Association. Now she’s back in Mason Square working as the executive director of the new Educare Springfield center, which just opened this month and is already at full enrollment.

Educare is an evidence-based national network of 25 early education programs with the sweeping goal of figuring out “the most effective and the most promising ways to work with each individual child and each individual family, and we do that with excitement and passion for the work,” according to Charlotte Brantley, the president and CEO of the Clayton Early Learning, Educare Denver.

Burnett echoes this ambition, explaining, “We may only have 141 children enrolled, but we are beholden to the education of all children.” Educare’s approach is to innovate and share its work on preparing young children to succeed in school. Burnett wants to ensure that all the children whose lives she touches aren’t struggling to catch up in kindergarten – as well as in first, second, and third grade. (more…)

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Facing a “crisis-level” shortage of child care, Colorado’s Senate has released the “Infant and Family Child Care Action Plan: A strategic action plan to address infant and family child care home shortages in Colorado.”

Colorado’s leadership in addressing this problem sets an example for states like Massachusetts where child care spots are also declining.

The plan notes in part:

“To maintain the momentum of our booming economy we need to support our working families. When that support comes in the form of access to safe, licensed child care, it in turn supports the healthy growth and development of Colorado’s next generation of thinkers, innovators, and workers.”

However, “licensed infant care has been decreasing since 2010. Additionally, family child care homes, sometimes the only accessible care option for families, have been declining for years. The loss of family child care homes also means the loss of significant numbers of licensed infant care. Although the decrease in family child care homes is consistent with national trends, Colorado currently exceeds the national average in the rate of overall decline. The impact of these decreases in licensed capacity is reflected in the fact that 25% of centers and 42% of homes reported having a wait list for infants.”

“To create a Colorado child care landscape where families can afford and access the care they need and want, Colorado must add at least 7000 infant slots in centers and over 200 family child care home providers.” (more…)

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One tool that early childhood advocates use well is storytelling.

Stories about parents, children, educators, and programs help the public see the power of early learning.

Here at Strategies for Children, we share the stories of early educators and leaders in the field to show how public policy affects real people. Stories also illustrate how important it is to make meaningful public investments in young children. That’s why we also share stories with elected officials. Our goal is to give stories about constituents to all of Massachusetts’ 200 state legislators.

To enhance our storytelling work, we are asking for your help. Do you know parents who are willing to share their stories about finding affordable, high-quality child care? If you do, please contact us! We are currently collaborating with advocates and researchers to collect and publish these stories. So email any parent story tips to eyeonearlyeducation@gmail.com. (more…)

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“We’re all affected by the barriers to affordable, quality child care,” Arthur Buckland, the interim director of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute, said earlier this month at a panel discussion on child care policy.

The event was a great overview of the current state of early education and care in Massachusetts, with insights on policy, advocacy, parents’ needs, and business benefits.

“The panel explored efforts to strengthen access to affordable care at the local and state level, how the lack of child care impacts the Commonwealth’s workforce, economy, and family security, and the importance of building a talent pipeline,” the institute says on its website.

The moderator of the panel was Lauren Birchfield Kennedy, co-founder of Neighborhood Villages, a nonprofit organization that works “to improve access to affordable, high-quality child care and early education.”

The panel speakers were: (more…)

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Parents already know that it’s tough to find high-quality, affordable child care in Boston.

Now, a new report — State of Early Education and Care in Boston: Supply, Demand, Affordability and Quality — has used data to better define the child care landscape for policymakers.

“During the process of creating a citywide plan for young children to achieve this goal, we discovered that there were many questions that could not be answered and supported with the data available,” the report, which was released by the Boston Opportunity Agenda, explains.

Among the questions: (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Are you a parent raising young children who are not yet in kindergarten?

Do you rely on child care to work or take classes?

Are you not working because of child care needs?

If so, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston wants to hear from you.

Families who are willing to share their child care story would participate in a 90-minute interview with the Fed’s research team, and receive a $50 Target gift card for their time. (more…)

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